A CAREER burglar who walked out of an open prison is back behind bars after he carried out a series of break-ins in Stratford and Knowle.
Jason Hatton, who was serving a six-year sentence at the time of his escape, pleaded guilty at Warwick Crown Court to escape, five charges of burglary and driving while disqualified.
The 43-year-old, of no fixed address, but previously of Dickinson Drive, Walsall, also admitted an offence of harassment, was jailed for a total of five years and seven months and banned from driving for three years and 11 months.
Prosecutor Jonathan Barker said in April last year Hatton had been jailed for five years and two months by a judge at Birmingham Crown Court for a number of offences.
And at Warwick Crown Court in October he had been given a concurrent 30-month sentence for burglaries.
But despite his earliest date of release being November next year, he was moved to HMP Sudbury open prison in Derbyshire where, on April 15, he simply walked out.
The following month, in breach of a restraining order, he turned up outside the home of his former partner, who called the police, but he had disappeared by the time officers arrived.
Hatton broke into two houses in Hogarth Road in Stratford, by forcing rear doors during the daytime, stealing a ring from one and a gold chain and bangle of sentimental value from the other.
Using the same method, Hatton then broke into a house in Wetherby Way in Stratford, and stole watches worth around £3,000.
Next he targeted an address in nearby Aintree Road, where a CCTV recording showed him wearing a balaclava mask at the time, and escaped with a ring and other jewellery.
Hatton then switched his attention to Knowle where he broke into a house in Copt Heath Drive to steal two rings, a car key and a watch presented to the owner by his employers for 25 years’ service.
But later that day a police officer saw Hatton, who was disqualified, driving back towards Stratford in a Vauxhall Astra.
Realising he had been seen, Hatton abandoned the car, but was found hiding in nearby bushes and was arrested, and in the car were items linking him to the burglaries.
Spencer Stephens, defending, said: “On being categorised for open conditions, he had made an application to be returned to HMP Hewell, where previously under open conditions he had gained employment, and hoped to take it up again, but was turned down.
“His father had begun to suffer from dementia and didn’t recognise him in phone calls, which Mr Hatton says broke him.
“He was told he would be eligible for his first home visit in July, but that was moved back to November, so he asked if he could have a supervised visit to see his father, but that was also refused.
“So he walked out. His intention was to see his father. But as soon as he left the police were in contact with his mother, and she would not let him visit because of the police attention.
Hatton was sentenced to four-and-a-half years for the burglaries, with consecutive terms of nine months for escape, two months for harassment and two for driving while disqualified.
Judge Andrew Lockhart QC said: “You type of offending has a real effect on people, and you have an utterly appalling record and were serving a prison sentence.
“You escaped from that prison sentence, and it was a month after you walked out that you committed the offence of harassment, and then you began this spate of burglaries.”